312 F1

5/30/01 312 F1

François is preparing a 1968 312 F1 for Vintage Racing, and every time I’m at his shop, I marvel at its design and engineering. It seems that every part of this car has a story, and I’m learning about this period of racing history by studying one car.

This week François had the fuel bladders out of the car. They are made by Pirelli, and are simple rubber containers joined by fittings and hose clamps! These bladders ran along the sides of the car, over the driver’s lap, and even in the space under the driver’s knees!  Imagine sitting in a race car in 1968 surrounded by 200 liters of high octane fuel housed in something as strong as an inner tube?! As I mentioned my amazement, François soberly told me the story of how Lorenzo Bandini died in a similar 312 in 1967 after crashing in Monaco. His impact cut through a fuel tank, and rolled his car over. In the confusion and slow response to put out the fire, Bandini, trapped in the car, was badly burned, and died three days later.

Today, fuel cells are required in all race cars. They are foam filled, spill very little when overturned, and are very hard to rupture. François will be fitting this historic car with several of these fuel cells, and will eliminate some of the needless risk auto racing had in its early days.

Preparing this car is like archeological dig. Every step reveals, or confirms its history. One such item is the steering wheel. Looking on the back of the wheel, on one of the spokes, is engraved “Ickx” which confirms this was an original wheel from that particular year, and this was Jacky Ickx’s personal wheel!

As a gear head, and Ferrari fan, I was honored to be holding the steering wheel once driven by Ickx! Pretty cool!

Previous Restoration Day
Next Restoration Day
Ferrari Home Page